Tuesday, 12 January 2010

GE2010: Lincoln: Karl McCartney Angry at Lincolnshire Echo's Edits

Related content 'Echo Readers to Quiz Parliamentary Candidates', 'GE2010: Lincoln: Reg Shore U-Turns and Waffles.', 'GE2010: Lincoln: 'Karl McCartney is On The Attack.' and 'GE2010: Lincoln: Gillian Merron Knows Her City'.

An angry Mr. Karl McCartney, Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for Lincoln, has hit out at the Lincolnshire Echo over edits that were made to his responses to questions poised by readers last week.

It is understood that Mr. McCartney is in discussion with the papers editorial team.

Reproduced below are the answers Mr. McCartney issued to the paper. Based on these answer I have revised Mr. McCartney score to 8/10 pegging him with the emolient answers given by Ms Merron.

Jonathan Holmes asks: “As a student, I am struggling to survive on the financial support available. Would any of you support a proposed rise in tuition fees at a time when many people are struggling to afford university in the first place?”

As a Conservative, I believe every person who could benefit from a university education should have the opportunity to do so if they wish.

But the proportion of young people going to university has scarcely changed in the last eight years. At the current rate, it would take Labour over a century to meet their 50 per cent target. Aiming for such numbers has already had an adverse effect on standards within universities. Anyone can recognise higher fees have brought benefits to universities but we need to ensure they are providing a better student experience in return. The Conservative Party has called on the Labour Government to start a full review of the higher education sector and tuition fees now, not in two years time. But it is only right that those who benefit from higher education should meet some of the cost of their degree.

Keith Bean asks: “What is your position on fox hunting? Are you for or against?”

I am very aware the current Labour MP for Lincoln is proud of the 700 hours of parliamentary time and the expense her and her Labour Party have spent in Government coming up with this flawed law. It may be a priority for her and her party but there are more important issues for the people of Lincoln, and our nation in these difficult times.

Not one fox has been saved by their legislation – it is bad legislation and should be repealed. There are much more important issues that any Government has the duty to deal with. It’s not an issue that pre-occupies those in Lincoln who have lost jobs; who serve or have families in the armed forces; who worry about the levels of service our NHS will be able to offer in Lincolnshire, who want the best for their children and see so many children leaving Lincoln every morning to be educated.

Mr P Rives asks: “Past articles in the Echo have said heavy rail freight is to be diverted through Lincoln. The High Street will have to be closed to traffic and even pedestrians must use a bridge or an underpass. If elected will the candidates oppose this madness by every means possible?”

As one of the many residents of Lincoln who has been held up on countless occasions by the rail barriers, I would of course want to minimise the delays caused by freight trains travelling through the city centre during the day.

I also realise the whole transport system in Lincoln is seriously overloaded. However, being realistic, Network Rail as an operator of the track and infrastructure of the railways unfortunately has carte blanche to do what it likes.

A re-instated footbridge would of course be helpful, especially as the road underpass/subway at the junction of Wigford Way, St. Mary’s Street and High Street often floods and is then closed to pedestrians. That would imply any rail underpass would suffer the same.

Whoever Lincoln’s MP is, they need to work with council and business leaders in the county to help solve the problematic rail, road and other transport infrastructure issues that beset Lincoln and Lincolnshire.

Penny Kemp asks: “Would you vote to get rid of the minimum wage?”

Having experienced working at the lower end of the economic scale in my teenage years and early 20s, I am pleased many workers of all ages in similar situations are no longer taken advantage of.

However, this Labour Government’s record is woefully poor and disheartening. Figures from early 2009 show the number of people paid less than the minimum wage has doubled from 248,000 in 2005 to 445,000 in 2008.

Dave Hansell asks: “Do you think MPs should be allowed to have second jobs?”

Yes I do for many reasons. If you stop MPs from having second jobs, then who would run the Government machine? If any MP is good enough to be able to perform their duties as a constituency MP, and also be a part of the Governmental system as a Minister, then why shouldn’t backbenchers also have a second role, as long as it does not directly infringe on their role as an MP?

If we take the example of many on the Government benches currently – are we all happy that there are a large number of MPs – and Ministers – in this Parliament who have never had an ‘outside politics’ job, and hence know nothing of the outside world beyond Oxbridge (or granted occasionally other universities), a Think Tank, research assistant to a Labour MP or as a political or union organiser?

Surely we would want the make-up of all the political parties and the whole of the House of Commons to be a bit more representative of the real world. Hence, any MP who has outside interests should be welcomed rather than castigated.

Doug West asks: “What is the candidate’s party policy on concessionary bus travel for the over-60s?”

I would like to see greater freedom of travel for the retired over 60s but this has to be wholly, or at least majorly, funded by the grant made available by central government.

The Freedom Pass scheme created by the Conservative Mayor for London is one of the most comprehensive concessionary fares schemes of its kind for older and disabled people in the country and one that would be a tremendous help to pensioners in Lincoln and Lincolnshire if it could be replicated in our County and across the Country.

Will Armstrong asks: “If you could be any cabinet minister, which one would you be and why?”

I am well aware that there are many able Conservative MPs already in Parliament, and I am hopeful that later this year I will be one of many other talented MPs to join them. Of course if I were the Cabinet Minister with the remit of Transport I would hope to steer the Department to providing benefits in the Transport system for Lincoln and Lincolnshire and the wider region, much like Hull enjoys a direct rail service to London courtesy in no small way to the former Labour Deputy Prime Minister being a Member representing Hull.

But I will be pre-occupied initially, if I am lucky enough to be elected, to ensure I am returned for a second term as the MP for Lincoln. Only by continuing as an MP for Lincoln will I be able to put Lincoln first, and if able, perhaps progress up the ranks in Westminster.

Seb Thomas asks: “There are plans in place for an eastern bypass but I don’t think this will solve the nightmare that is Lincoln’s road network. How will you try and make sure the city gets its fair share of funding and its infrastructure can be radically improved?”

I believe that one of the roles of an MP is to adopt an overarching approach to difficult issues such as the transport network and to ensure that their Constituency receives their fair share of funding. Our City’s transport infrastructure should be radically improved and new initiatives such as park and ride/sail considered.

Other ideas I have discussed with various parties include improvements to the western bypass and the current roundabout structures plus the A15 and other major routes. I have also previously made known my incredulity that any eastern bypass would have roundabout junctions rather than flyovers or underpasses and that it would not be extended to join the A46.

Abdul Majid asks: “The Public and Commercial Services Union is concerned over further privatisation of the civil service. Where do you stand on privatising public services?”

I am not against privatisation in sectors of the economy where it is appropriate. In certain geographic areas, the economies of scale of amalgamating and privatising a public service can produce vast benefits in terms of level of service as well as economic savings.

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